About the Author: The Average Joe Dad is a dad of one who decided to write in about his experience so far of being, well, an average dad. In this post, he talks about his journey of taking his son to football classes for the very first time.
As I look back on the past three years, I wonder how I could have done more to help with Junior’s development as a human being. Sure, I’ve been a pretty hands on parent, but that was meant to be straightforward, leaving an abundance of time for me to do things like cultivate the next Bill Gates or Tiger Woods. It didn’t quite work out that way, but somehow he is doing just fine and as it turns out, the most important thing was to simply be around so he could come ask for a little help when he got stuck. It’s obviously not that straightforward, but point is they show you what they need and hopefully stop screaming in your ear once you figure it out.
More recently, as Junior has started school, we have tried to get him involved in clubs and extra curricular. When my wife suggested Saturday football, I figured this was going to be great. Swimming was a bit of a hit and miss, maybe we tried a bit early. Golf in theory was great and the way I saw it, some day it would allow mummy a day off while father and son spent some time out on the course and have a laugh, but Junior decided to use his clubs to trial the concept of gravity as he was more curious to discover what was out of his reach on almost every shelf in the house and as for the golf balls, plastic of course, most have been chewed up and spat out as if we had a little wild animal investigating his next meal. He’s certainly a curious child.
Now it’s football, first thing Saturday morning and I’ve been pretty excited to let the little guy loose on the field. With more energy than an entire classroom of children and plenty of weekend afternoons spent in the garden cultivating some real skill in the game, this is going to be great I thought. So far he has been more interested in chasing after pigeons and the more frustrated I have gotten, the less interested he seemed to be. The day I let him see that I myself found his behaviour somewhat amusing and then proceeded to suggest maybe we give the football part a try, things went pretty well. I did have to utilise a little bribery with the prospect of an after football ice cream, but in my defence that is another lesson to be taught, that progress is rewarded of course.
The bottom line is, as time has gone by, I have discovered that the key thing is to present our little ones with the options and the encouragement to give things a try; all as part of the process to help them figure out who they are and in the process help us figure out how best to navigate them. We also learn, through often testing our own limits, to exercise patience and this only seems to help with their own progress.